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Louisville Wins $400,000 Grant to Fight Childhood Obesity

Tuesday December 2, 2008

Healthy Hometown Movement to improve physical activity, access to healthy foods

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has been awarded a $400,000 grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to reduce childhood obesity. The Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement will use the money from the foundation to improve opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy, affordable foods for children and families.

Louisville was selected as one of nine sites for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative based on demonstrated success in increasing active living and healthy eating. The $44 million national program is RWJF’s newest and largest investment in community-based solutions to address childhood obesity. By late 2009, the program will include approximately 70 communities across the country.

“This award is an honor and a testament to the great work we are doing in Louisville to increasing access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “Being singled out as a mentor city confirms that we are on the right track.” 

The Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement will work with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, the Center for Health Equity, TARC, the YMCA of Greater Louisville and other partners to implement a series of strategies for the grant. Some of those plans could include neighborhood walkability assessments, technical assistance for Safe Routes to School programs, development of community gardens and support of year-round public markets.

“This grant empowers our community to prevent childhood obesity,” said Dr. Adewale Troutman, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “We will focus on increasing the availability of healthy foods at corner grocery stores and encouraging more physical activity in a dozen neighborhoods in northwest Louisville.” 

The eight other cities or regions named as leading sites and receiving four-year grants are Baldwin Park, Central Valley and Oakland in California; Chicago; Columbia, Mo., Seattle; Somerville, Mass.; and Washington, DC.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a cornerstone of RWJF’s five-year, $500 million commitment to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States by 2015.

“The program will provide replicable, real-time solutions for addressing the epidemic,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We expect this vital work by the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement will help Louisville become the kind of community where all children can lead healthier lives.”

About the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement
Mayor Jerry Abramson launched the Healthy Hometown Movement in 2004 as a community-wide effort to create a new culture in Louisville where physical activity and optimal nutrition are the norm. The movement seeks to motivate citizens to increase their level of physical activity and to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Movement was recently recognized as the primary reason for Louisville winning the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ First Place “Livable City” Award for 2008.

The Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness administers the Healthy Hometown Movement and a more than 150-member Advisory Council of the area’s leading health and fitness professionals provides oversight. Information about the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement and listings of health and fitness-oriented events are available at www.louisvilleky.gov/mhhm, or by calling MetroCall at 311 or 502-574-5000.

About Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), advances community-based solutions to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. It focuses on changing policies and environments to support active living and healthy eating among children and families. The program places special emphasis on reaching children who are at highest risk for obesity on the basis of income, race/ethnicity and geographic location. It will support RWJF’s efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States by 2015.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.  For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.